Sunday, July 4th, I spent the day washing my cars. Well, except for the ’97 M3, Its paint is so shitty that it would be useless to wash it. Anyway, my 17-year-old neighbor rolled by while I was washing my cars and asked if I knew a mechanic. I asked him what for, and he told me he needed to do some work on his first car. He worked his ass off mowing lawns and other odd jobs in the neighborhood and saved up to buy a 1995 Honda Prelude manual, but it needs a little work.
He said he really wants to fix the car himself, but his dad won’t let him because he’s afraid he’s going to hurt himself not knowing what he’s doing. So I told him to bring it over one weekend and work on it in the garage or driveway with me. I said we’ll put it on some jack stands and get to work. I offered to talk to his dad so that he could feel comfortable knowing that I’ll be helping him out. Ian, the kid, came back later and said his dad trusts me. I guess because he sees me working on my E36 M3 and stuff. This kid is so excited. He is so happy he’s going to learn how to work on his own car. I gave him some detailing stuff for the interior and exterior, plus microfiber towels. He’s ecstatic.
I later spoke to his dad and he said, “I was just worried he would do something wrong and end up causing the car to drive badly and get into an accident.” That’s a fair concern to have when your kid doesn’t know how to work on a car, I’d say. He also told me he’d been telling his son, “Go talk to Josh. I see him working on his car all the time. Ask him for help,” to which his son replied, “NO! He’s going to think I’m stupid.”
I decided to post that story around 9 pm Sunday to a Facebook group I’m in called Manual Elitist Jerks. It’s a group where we stand up for manual transmissions and call automatics “scum”. As soon as I posted it to the group people were going nuts about it. I was just trying to share that I was going to be helping a young car enthusiast, and you would have thought I brokered peace in the Middle East. It felt really good in this day and age.
Well as of publishing this Uncooked Truth, there are more than 2,500 likes and nearly 450 comments.
A gentleman from Australia commented that I should start a GoFundMe for the kid so we can all donate and buy him his first nice set of tools. A few people echoed his statement, and I took the day to think about it. I wondered if anyone would even donate, and if so, how much could we raise? I was a little worried that people would automatically assume that I was just going to raise a few bucks and keep it for myself. But then, early Monday evening, I talked to Ian’s dad outside their house and asked for his permission to start the GoFundMe, to which he of course replied yes.
At around 10:52 Monday night, the GoFundMe page went live. A few minutes after that I posted the link to the Manual Elitist Jerks Facebook group, as well as the Anti-BMW BMW Club, a group dedicated to our love-hate relationship with the various BMWs we own or have owned. At 10:59 I received the first donation was given, which was $20. We were on our way.
I originally set a goal of $600, thinking that I would be able to get about $500 after the fees and such are taken out of the final amount. However, a couple people asked me to raise the limit so they could give bigger amounts. So I up the goal to $750. My e-mail and the app were both blowing up on my phone. $10 here, $20 there. $50? $100? $320??? These are all real amounts I saw. Then at 12:48 am I got an e-mail from GoFundMe saying, “You reached your fundraising goal, Josh.” In two hours I raised seven-hundred and fifty dollars. I was up until 3 am thanking people via comments and private messages.
I woke up Tuesday morning around 8:15 and quickly checked my phone. The amount raised was now up to 860 dollars. And as of the publishing of this article, the GoFundMe is at $1,140. I’m still in shock and awe.
What started as a small idea to buy a decent set of tools, a tool chest/box, some jacks, jack stands, and a few other things to get Ian started working on his car with good tools and new confidence, quickly turned into a wholesome event to behold. People are still donating, and some still intend to donate when they get their paycheck on Friday. Others are sending me private messages saying they can’t afford to donate, but they would like to gift Ian with some of their extra sets of tools. Each and every thing given is appreciated and something I can’t thank people enough for.
This week’s Uncooked Truth is about paying it forward and making sure to help future generations get more knowledgeable about cars. The car community stepped up in a big way to help a young, budding car enthusiast. He bought a Honda Prelude, a genuinely cool car, and he wants to fix what needs fixing, add some aftermarket parts, and enjoy the hell out of it.
I am not asking anyone to donate, although you are still welcome to. The point of this is to say there is still some humanity that cares about people in this world. If a group of cynical car jerks can come together for the common goal of helping a good kid, we can all do more than what we’re doing now. Lend a hand. Offer to turn a wrench with someone. Donate your unneeded tools to a school or college that has a shop class. No matter what, even small gestures add up to be big gestures for someone else.
If you’re able to donate, you can do so with the GoFundMe linked here. I am not taking any of the money that’s raised. Every single cent will buy Ian various tools he will need to fix his car and cars he’ll buy in the future. Depending on the final amount raised, I may try and give him 200-300 dollars cash to put toward parts for his car.